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(Last Updated: Monday 20 May)

River Dee Fishing report for the w/c 13th May 2024

A scorching hot week of bright sunshine and high temperatures most days presented a challenging week for anglers and for the fish in the river, all the ghillies have mentioned the difficult conditions in their reports. The best time to be on the river was early morning or early evening and so fishing effort was reduced last week.

We are seeing a few more sea trout and there were a couple of 12lb fish to the rods, one at Deecastle and one at Crathie. Hopefully this coming week will be a bit cooler and more comfortable for us all, there will be high tides with the full moon on Thursday,9 that will bring some more fish into the river.

Around the beats

Banchory beat had a salmon caught on Tuesday at Invery, and a couple of sea trout this week , the one on Saturday was to the rod of Richard Constant who was fishing with regular Anthony Fielder.

At Cairnton beat Brian Brogan mentioned  that they did see a few fish and had a few offers and managed to lose 2 which were almost to the net unfortunately. Brian said their beat water heights were fairly good on Monday, sitting at 1’ and by Saturday was sitting at 8” & water temperatures between 57f/60f.

Ballogie & Carlogie and Commonty beats had a total of 2 salmon plus a sea trout.

At the Dess beat , Ali McEwan reported that beat owner Jeremy Clayton was fishing this week. Robert Chambers picked up a fish Monday and Tuesday. Iain Wood and Michael Trafford chipped in mid-week with a couple of sea trout.  Sandy Scott finished the week for them with a fish on Saturday.


At Balmoral beat David Fernie reported tough conditions last week but they managed one fish on the Saturday to save a blank week , the fish was in crystal clear water, and it came up for a tiny tube on a single hook, there are more  photos on the Balmoral Estate Fishing Facebook page.


Gordon Macdermid reported that Dinnet and Deecastle managed 6 fish for the week. Paul Chambers had 3 fish for his week to 9lbs from 29, Pol Baw and Logie. Giles Bowring had a 7lber from 29, Richard Strang Steel had a 9lber also from 29. The pick of the bunch was a very fresh 12lber for beat owner Edward Humphrey in Logie on Tuesday.


At  Crathie , Archie Hay  told me that the week started well with Andrew Miller catching a 7 lber in the first pool he fished,  Tuesday saw Dee regular Mike Lankshere land a very badly seal marked fish of 10lbs.  The remainder of the week 3 Norwegian rods fished hard with Mr O Berg catching fish of 6 and 9 lbs. A further two fish were landed one of 7 and the other  the other 12lb caught at 10pm on Saturday night by Pat Smith.


River temperatures peaked at 18C this week at our monitoring site in Ballater, we have asked beats to please keep an eye out next week for water temperatures reaching 18C, as this is the level at which fish stress becomes a concern.

Please follow guidance on C&R in high temperatures -

It is a bank holiday for some of us next weekend, if you are looking to come to the Dee then you can check beat availability here -


Tight lines!


Debbie Cooper

07979 878971

[email protected]


Mark Elder at Cairnton

Fish at Upper Blackhall to the rod of Hans Edman

Stig Jerry Ørneberg at Dess

Andrew McKimm at Aboyne Castle

Fish to the rod of Gordon Thomson with Malcolm Carr

Sandy Bremner at Deecastle

Takin’ a breather!



Helpful Information 

Tackle Shops and Outfitters on Deesside

Guides and Instructions on the River Dee 

Where To Stay on Dee and the surrounding countryside. 

Where To Eat on the river Dee.

Fishing Permits for the River Dee.


Get In touch:

Thanks so much for sending me your photos and your stories, as they say around these parts “ Haste ye back to the silvery Dee”

Fish Handling

Salmon mortality from catch and release fishing is low, and this is a valuable tool in salmon management. However, catching a fish has many consequences which can have lethal and sub-lethal effects. The key to minimising these effects is to practice good fish handling measures.

The combination of equipment choice, hooking duration, air exposure, and handling time all result in capture stress. The aim of this guidance is to minimise stress.

Handling effects

The direct consequences of taking a fish from water include:

  • Gill collapse – Resulting in less oxygen entering the bloodstream which will ultimately end in suffocation.
  • Eye strain – Salmon and trout do not have eyelids and so raising them out of water can damage the eye and is also highly stressful.
  • Gravity effects – When out of water, the fish’s body and internal organs are no longer supported. Take care to hold the fish horizontally and support the fish so that it doesn’t damage the spine, bones or internal organs. If the fish kicks out of your hands it may be damaged and will certainly be a stressful experience.
  • Skin damage – Damage or scale and mucus loss from nets, dry hands, dropping or placing the fish on the bankside could result in an infection and can stop the fish from reproducing.
  • Temperature change – There can be a big difference between water and air/skin temperature and a rapid change temperature will cause stress.

Anglers can have an impact on salmon offspring too, as a fish that exhibits high amounts of stress – from handling and/or temperature – may then produce fewer or smaller offspring or have lower egg survival and disease tolerance.

In short, how a fish is caught and handled has a direct effect on its survival and also the next generation. Minimising stress by following best practice will have a real impact on the number and quality of fish emerging the following spring.

Best practice

Minimising the time fish are removed from their natural environment must be the goal, and there are numerous studies that suggest air-exposure should ideally be limited to under 10 seconds during the whole catch and release procedure.


  • Use barbless, circle hooks and a line weight heavy enough to bring the fish in quickly.
  • Minimise time played and bring the fish in quickly.
  • Use a suitable, knotless net to avoid skin damage.
  • Handle the fish as little as possible and only with wet hands.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible – Total air exposure during the whole process should be under 10 seconds.
  • Photograph fish in the water or lift just for just a few seconds – holding correctly (below the pectoral fins and on the tail wrist).
  • Keep the fish in the water facing upstream to help it recover – don’t pump the fish.
  • Allow the fish to recover fully before releasing – the fish should be able to maintain an upright position and respond gently touching at the tail.


  • Play the fish unnecessarily.
  • Place the fish on the bank.
  • Take the fish out of the water longer than completely necessary.
  • Lift the fish far from the ground (in case you drop it)
  • Treat it rough (bear hug, by the gills, by the tail etc.)

Fishing at 18°C and above

The stress effects from handling can be further compounded with increasing temperature. As water temperature increases so too does the fish’s oxygen demand and energy consumption.

Fishing in water temperatures exceeding around 18°C becomes increasingly stressful to the fish and is linked to decreased immune function and increased susceptibility to fungal infections.

Adult Atlantic salmon have increased risk of mortality at around 20°C. When temperature remains above 20°C for 24 hours fish are unable to repair the damage caused by thermal stress and at this point catching has a noticeable negative impact on survival.

Anglers have a direct impact on whether salmon survive thermal stress. If fishing in warm water (18°C or more), risk of mortality from poor handling is much greater.

Make sure:

  • Fishing site is appropriate – aerated riffles, rapids.
  • Play the fish firmly and avoid a long fight.
  • Fish early in the day.
  • Do not lift fish out of water at all – choose fishing site so that this is possible.


Keeping the Dee safe from disease, parasites and non-native invasive species is vital for the wellbeing of the river, the fish populations and other wildlife it supports. One of the key tools with which the Board protects the river and its stock of Atlantic salmon and sea trout is the control and management of Biosecurity.

What is Biosecurity?

Biosecurity is most commonly considered to be a series of measures aimed at preventing the introduction and or spread of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites, including non-native species.

Inadvertent introductions of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites can go unnoticed until the point that treatment is no longer an option. Therefore, the prevention of introduction is the most effective way to protect our river.

Simple techniques which anyone can employ, such as checking equipment for any plant materials or animals, cleaning or disinfecting equipment and clothing, and simply allowing clothing and equipment to dry out can all be considered biosecurity measures.

What’s at risk?

The River Dee is renowned as being one of the best fishing destinations in the world and we want to protect our river and fish stocks. It is vital that our biosecurity measures are consistent with the rapidly evolving environment within which we live, to reduce the risk to the Dee and its fish stocks.

We need biosecurity to become a routine part of the Dee experience and we need your support to do this. Anglers and ‘other river users’ on the River Dee must consider biosecurity the next time they are using equipment or clothing that has been used elsewhere other than the Dee and not been cleaned, disinfected or dried.

What can you do?

The best information how to practice biosecurity measures will come from your ghillie, if that doesn’t apply then please follow the Check Clean Dry Campaign and Stop the Spread.

You can also get your kit disinfected at one of two biosecurity stations on the Dee. Use these links for Google Maps directions:

TwinPeakes Flyfishing at Milton of Crathes

The River Office, Mill of Dinnet

We also have facilities at the River Office to clean other river users’ equipment such as canoes and paddleboards.

Thank you in advance for helping to protect the Dee and our fish stocks.

For more information please e mail [email protected] or contact the river office.


Beat catches reported

(Last week)

Beat Catches
Tilbouries Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Lower Crathes W Durris Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Crathes Castle Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Banchory Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 10
Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Cairnton and Mid Blackhall Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Upper Blackhall Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 2
Woodend Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 1
Commonty Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 1
Ballogie Salmon - 0, Sea trout - 1
Carlogie Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 4
Birse Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Aboyne Castle Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Craigendinnie Salmon - 1, Sea trout - 0
Waterside and Ferrar Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 2
Dinnet Salmon - 4, Sea trout - 2
Deecastle Salmon - 3, Sea trout - 1
Headinch and Cambus O'May Salmon - 4, Sea trout - 2
Birkhall Salmon - 2, Sea trout - 0
Crathie Salmon - 6, Sea trout - 0

Angler at Cairnton in May 2024

Angler at Cairnton in May 2024

Salmon to the net at Balmoral in May 2024

Salmon to the net at Balmoral in May 2024


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